Just hours after Alistair Overeem revealed that he was not prepared to accept a Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix semifinal bout against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva on September 10, the organization's heavyweight champion has been removed from the tournament altogether.
Multiple websites, including MMA Weekly and Tatame are reporting that Overeem has been removed from the tournament and replaced by undefeated AKA product Daniel Cormier, who will face Silva in place of Overeem.
Overeem appeared on "The MMA Hour" earlier today and told Ariel Helwani that he was not prepared to accept the proposed matchup because he felt there would not be enough time to adequately following his victory over Fabricio Werdum last month.
"That is not going to take place," Overeem told MMAFighting.com of a September return. "Stikeforce has requested me to accept the fight for Sept. 10, to agree on that, but I have not agreed on it and I also had some emails, some questions asked, is the fight confirmed? No, the fight is not confirmed. I do not confirm it and I will not confirm it. For them to unilaterally declare, okay, [September 10] is going to be the second round, which I never agreed on, and then threaten me if I don't want it, it...doesn't really show a lot of respect."
The Golden Glory product mentioned that he has been threatened to be cut from the promotion by Zuffa officials if he continues to refuse to fight, although he is not sure if the barbs will actually hold true.
Overeem also stressed that he has a clause in his contract that allows him to take fights in outside organizations and that he has instructed his management to do so for the month of October, whether it be in MMA, kickboxing or even boxing, of which he has taken some recent interest in.
For now, the tournament includes Cormier, who has won all eight of his professional fights to date and will be taking a step up in competition to face Silva. The 32-year-old picked up his biggest career win to date in June, battering Jeff Monson over three rounds.
The other heavyweight grand prix semifinal remains intact as former UFC heavyweight champion Josh Barnett will take on heavy hitter Sergei Kharitonov on the other side of the bracket this fall.